Wow, what an amazing year in Myanmar. After a pretty slow 2017 and 2018, the job market in 2019, specifically Yangon and Mandalay, was very active which has lead to some amazing opportunities for many candidates.
Many of you will remember the crazy race for candidates when Telenor, Ooredoo, Carlsberg, Heineken etc entered Myanmar in around 2014. I wasn’t here for most of that, but I was towards the end and although it helped a lot of candidates get more senior titles and higher pay, it was both unsustainable and unrealistic. Like a roller coaster ride, it had to come crashing down.
This year, although the volume of jobs in the market are similar to 2014, the approach of companies has been very different. And this difference is showing how the Myanmar job market is maturing.
So what happened in 2019 that was so different. Well companies are being smarter and more selective with candidates. They have learnt from their previous mistakes of just hiring someone who might be able to do the role, and are now looking deeper into the backgrounds, experience and skills, as well as the culture fit and making much smarter decisions.
This has greatly affected the candidates chances of getting roles, but I still notice that the candidates have not caught up to this trend. Candidates still believe that they can apply to jobs that are 1 or 2 levels above them and have a chance of success, they believe that they can get a promotion every year, and that 1 year of experience is enough to be eligible for a more senior role in a new company.
This is not the case anymore. Companies are starting to look at longevity, loyalty and stability and giving these more weight in their decision making process.
So how do I think this is going to affect 2020?
Well firstly, I see that this trend is only going to become more common with companies in the market. Companies will introduce testing, they will do stricter background checks, they will look at candidates who have worked in roles for a minimum of 2 years and not accept job hoppers.
This will largely be driven by the newer international companies in the market. Insurance, Banking, Retail and Manufacturing are already implementing the practices from overseas into Myanmar. However some of the local companies like KBZ have really stepped up the quality of their recruitment process and seen excellent results in hiring very high caliber candidates for their business.
With the financial sector really opening up next year, there will be some great job opportunities in both Yangon and Mandalay, but candidates need to be prepared for a much tougher interview process that they have been used to in the past.
I am really excited about what this will bring and hope to join you on this ride next year.